The release of 2005’s Brokeback Mountain caused controversy, but there was no denying the passion behind the film’s stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal who were proud to bring the groundbreaking film to light.
Over the years, Gyllenhaal has opened up about his late friend Heath Ledger after the two formed an unbreakable friendship while filming the movie before Ledger’s untimely passing in 2008. Now, in a recent interview, Gyllenhaal revealed that Ledger stood by the movie and its message so much that he refused to present at the 2007 Academy Awards because of a planned joke about the film’s homosexual characters.
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“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal, 39, recalled.
“And Heath refused,” he explained. “I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay… whatever.’ I’m always like, ‘It’s all in good fun.’ And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me – I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’ ”
The actor added, “That’s the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.’ ”
That year, the film which starred Gyllenhaal and Ledger as Jack Twist and Del Mar, two ranchers who unexpectedly find love together, received eight Oscar nominations including acting nods for both stars. In the end, many were shocked when the film lost Best Picture to Crash.
Back in 2016, Gyllenhaal briefly opened up about the impact of Ledger’s passing. “Personally, it affected me in ways I can’t necessarily put in words or even would want to talk about publicly,” the actor shared. “In terms of professionally, I think I was at an age where mortality was not always clear to me.”
“It [gave me] the experience of, ‘This is fleeting.’ And none of the attention or synthesized love that comes from the success of a film really matters at all,” he shared. “What matters is the relationships you make when you make a film, and the people you learn from when you’re preparing for a film. That changed a lot for me.”